Sin is defined by God. Man, being sinful, cannot define sin accurately. God, being only good, is the only source we can turn to for what is bad in our world and our lives. He declares that what is not of Him is sin.
Every day I come face to face with the sin I commit, and the sin of others. This last weekend I found myself emotionally affected by the shootings in Arizona. I was physically and emotionally and spiritually affected by my sin. Both are devastating. Both are far from God and both are equally bad.
Growing up Catholic, I was taught about mortal and venial sins. The church taught that some sins were not as bad as others. If you die with a venial sin on your conscience, you still have hope to get to heaven. This is not so with a mortal sin. It is interesting that the protestant and other churches laugh at this doctrine. They claim that all sin is of equal destruction without Christ. I agree that sin is sin. The funny thing is that in talking to other non-Catholic church goers it is apparent that they too believe that some sin is worse than others.
A conversation last weekend confirmed this to me. We were discussing the proper way to handle our children who choose to fornicate, or follow a homosexual lifestyle. It seemed to be accepted that these children should be shunned. How else will they embrace Christ and His mercy for their sins? The question begs to be asked, what if the child had lied? What difference would that make? Should we shun the liar as well? What if the lie is not discovered? What if it was a one time sin as opposed to a lifestyle? Do we accept a little white lie and not the big cover up? Do we allow the sin in our lives but not in others? Do we allow the sin on our tv but not in real life?
The question of sin is not an easy one. God decides what is sin and what is not. It is only through His judgement on an action or thought that I can label it sin. God also decides how sin is to be removed and cleansed. He chose to pay the price but sets up parameters as to how the sinner will be redeemed. He chose to make only one avenue and that is through belief and trust in Jesus.
In my humble and sometimes faulty opinion, I believe that love is never wrong when it comes to sinners. Yes, sometimes it must be tough, but grace can always be offered in love. Those who choose not to accept grace will do the shunning. We do not need to push them away. It could be that our grace and love shown to those who are blinded by their sin, will draw them closer to Jesus so that His voice can be heard in their hearts and they will be set free. Besides, we are sinners too!
Much has been written about sin over the ages. My little offering will not solve the problems of sins labels or its removal. My purpose is to encourage all of us to let God be God.
Righteous and Holy God, You take away the sins of the world! Have mercy on us as we struggle to deal with the enormous hold sin has on our lives. Teach us to find the justice in weighing our silent sins as heavily as those who make their sin public. Thank You for Your Son Jesus who is Your sacrificial lamb. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us!